Nearly fifty years of volunteering has earned Colin Magee of Burbage, Leicestershire the title BBC East Midlands Sports Unsung Hero 2013, giving him the chance to win the national BBC Sport Unsung Hero Award at next month’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Colin, 71, has got thousands of young people into sailing, breaking down the barriers that it’s a sport for the affluent. He’s the driving force behind the Leicestershire and Rutland Youth Sailing Association (LRYSA), a charity running courses for schools and youth groups and entering teams into racing regattas.
The 2007 RYA Lifetime Achievement Award winner is also fundamental to the charity’s fundraising activities, making sure there are boats available for use and suitable sailing clothing. He charges no membership fee and offers free instruction. When he’s not on the water, he’s maintaining boats to the highest possible standard.
He works with special schools and amongst other things has designed a system to support those with visual impairments. Colin has also coached children with autism to a standard where they’re part of his competitive squad.
The award organiser, Mark Shardlow of BBC East Midlands, said, 'Colin is a fantastic example of someone who has given time and effort to help others play sport. He has clearly had a major impact on sport in the East Midlands.
'The judging panel were particularly impressed that he’s recruited so many volunteers to act as coaches, judges and committee members to ensure the club has a legacy.'
Graeme Chilvers, from Hinckley and Bosworth District Council, nominated Colin. He said, 'In Colin’s eyes everyone can have fun sailing. He has a singular ability to motivate and inspire. He is a very special man.'
The British Sailing Team’s Podium Potential 470 helm and 2007 Topper World Champion, Mike Wood, who was trained by Colin at Bosworth Water, said: 'I wouldn’t be sailing if it wasn’t for Colin. He’s made the sport open to children from all backgrounds.'
Colin was given the award at a surprise presentation on Tuesday (19 November) morning when he was reduced to tears. He said, 'I am absolutely overwhelmed. It is just something I do. I get people on the water. It is something I can share, and if I can get just one young person off the streets and away from trouble than I have done something.'
Colin now moves on to the national final. The results will be revealed at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award on Sunday 15 December live on BBC1.